“No I won’t be afraid. Oh I won’t be afraid.” – Stand By Me – Ben E. King. 25 years. 25 years stood between the time of when Stand By Me was originally released in 1961, becoming a hit for Ben E. King, but it wasn’t until two and a half decades of time had passed in the year 1986 when the song was chosen to be on the soundtrack for Rob Reiner’s movie also named Stand By Me, which was based on the short story “The Body” from Stephen King. BMI has named this the fourth most performed song of the 20th century, with over seven MILLION performances up until 1999. The song has been performed by the likes of John Lennon, Mickey Gilley, Prince Royce and even Muhammad Ali.
Co-writer of the song Jerry Leiber describes the time when Ben E. King brought the opening lyric to him and fellow co-writer Mike Stoller and Ben had the opening lyric of “When the night has come, and the land is dark, and the moon is the only light we’ll see.” He told the co-writers that’s what he had and Mike and Jerry finished the song on the spot, with Jerry coming up with that incredible bass line the song is so well known for.
Ironically enough, Rob Reiner made the choice to have the original song on the film soundtrack, after meeting Mike at a party with Rob asking him for permission to use the title “Stand By Me” for the movie. Mike Stoller granted permission, and the song has transcended time and become an American Standard, far surpassing its success from 1961. Funny how that works out – when Rob stood by Mike with the original recording being used to reflect the time period of the film vs. going with an up and coming artist of the time (rumored to be Tina Turner), they both had smashing success with the song and the movie.
The lesson here: Don’t be afraid to stand by those who support you throughout your life. Those are #LyricsToLiveLifeBy.